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Lowcountry teen wins $5,000 scholarship

Madison Pittman, 17, of Ladson, is the recipient of the 2016 R.D. Bennett Community Service Scholarship presented by The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Inc., the trade association for South Carolina’s independent, not-for profit electric cooperatives.  The $5,000 college scholarship is presented to a student who completes a community service project that best exemplifies the cooperative principle of “concern for community.”

Pittman was among 12 high school students from across South Carolina who completed projects this summer as part of the co-ops’ annual Washington Youth Tour program, which sends rising high school seniors to the nation’s capital for a week of learning about co-ops and government.  Pittman and seven other local students were chosen by Berkeley Electric Cooperative to attend the Youth Tour in June with a total of 76 students from around South Carolina.

In mid-August, a panel of judges selected Pittman’s community service project, “5K 4 Kids,” as the winner in the $5,000 scholarship competition.  As part of her project, Pittman created, developed and supervised a 5-kilometer road race in Summerville to benefit MUSC and Summerville Medical Center.  The race was held in July and has raised nearly $2,000 for the two hospitals.

“I have had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer at Summerville Medical,” Pittman said.  “I must say I was very impressed by all of the hard work that goes on there, and I believe that is part of what pushed me to have this project.  I ended up having 50-60 runners as well as 50 supporters!  I was so thankful and excited to have so many participate in the event.”

“The judges were amazed with what Madison put together in just a few short months,” said Van O’Cain, director of public and member relations with The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina.  “Madison has embodied what this scholarship program is all about—showing leadership while helping out in her community.” 

Pittman, a senior at Faith Christian School in Summerville, is the daughter of Steve and Mary Alice Pittman.  After high school graduation, she plans to major in pre-med at Liberty University, then return to her hometown to attend medical school at MUSC.

The R.D. Bennett Community Service Scholarship is named for Robert D. Bennett, the first general manager and executive vice president of The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Inc.  Bennett, who led the state association from 1950 until his retirement in 1980, strongly believed that electric cooperatives should support their local communities—providing a better quality of life for their members.  His spirit of community service is reflected in this scholarship opportunity.

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